Tabula Rasa by EllyF
Summary: An expansion of a scene in "Blank."  Clark doesn't know Chloe, but he does know he can trust her to protect him.
Categories: Orphan Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent
Type: Fiction
Other Pairings: None
Genre: friendship, hurt/comfort
Incarnation: Chloe and Clark [friends]
Timeline: season 4
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 908 Read: 706 Published: 06/22/2008 Updated: 06/22/2008

1. Chapter 1 by EllyF

Chapter 1 by EllyF
He didn't know her at all, but he trusted her.

"Here," she said, handing him a metal rod. A crowbar, he thought it was called. "Bend this."

He looked at it doubtfully. He might not remember who he was, but he did know people couldn't bend stuff like this.

"This is metal, uh, Chloe," he answered. She'd told him her name was Chloe Sullivan, as if he ought to know it, but he didn't. Then again, he hadn't known his own name, either. "I can't bend this."

She sat down on a stack of hay bales, a faint smile playing around her mouth. "Just like you can’t pull a door off its hinges, right? Come on, Clark. Try it."

Still dubious, he lifted the rod in his hands and applied pressure.

It bent into an upside-down U as readily as if it had been clay. He stared at it, blinking stupidly.

At last he said, "How did I do that?"

Her smile grew just a little wider. "Why did I always picture myself on the other end of this conversation?" He stared at her blankly, uncertain what she meant, and she patted the hay next to her. "Come here, Clark. Sit."

He only hesitated a moment, then settled down next to her. There was something oddly comfortable about sitting next to her, and he wondered if they sat like this often, if they talked a lot. He hadn't felt any real sense of familiarity with the loud, mouthy brunette in the kitchen, but this girl-- she felt far more familiar to him than anything else did.

"Smallville was hit with the world’s biggest meteor shower when you were little." Her statement sounded totally irrelevant to his question, and he stared at her, bewildered. She went on. "Now, I know this sounds way out there, but some of the meteor rocks have had an, uh, extraterrestrial effect on certain people in the town." A long pause ensued, during which she clearly steeled herself to say something. At last she just blurted it out. "It’s my theory that you were one of them."

Extraterrestrial. He didn't like that word, not at all. A terrible sensation coiled in his chest, the sudden dreadful fear that he was so different from her, from everyone on the planet, that he might never fit in.

"Extraterrestrial powers?" he repeated. "You mean I’m some sort of alien?"

"No," she answered at once, her tone reassuring. His face must have given away his horrified first reaction, because she reached out and patted his shoulder gently in a comforting gesture. "No, of course not. You're obviously human, Clark. You're just..."

"A mutant?"

"Well...yeah." He must have still looked distressed, because she went on hastily, "Who has saved my life on more than one occasion. See... you’ve sort of taken it upon yourself to be Smallville’s self-appointed hero. And if you ask me, I think that that is amazing."

Her voice dropped, becoming soft, almost reverent. He studied her, seeing the very real respect and affection on her face. It was obvious to him that this girl really liked him a lot, even if he was a mutant or a freak or whatever.

Suddenly he remembered how she'd grabbed a peanut butter jar away from him in the kitchen and said, too brightly, I’m going to take him up to the barn, see if anything up there jogs his memory. Clearly the brunette didn't know he was a mutant.

Which meant that this girl-- Chloe-- was trying to keep his secrets from the world, even when he didn't know what his own secrets were. She'd been afraid he'd give himself away by displaying his strength, so she'd protected him.

He couldn't help but wonder how many times she'd protected him in the past.

He stood up, still holding the crowbar, and looked down on her. She gazed up at him, and the friendship and trust were still clear in her expression. There was nothing at all in her clear eyes that hinted, You're a freak and you scare me. There was only an unmistakable affection.

He stared into her hazel eyes, feeling like he might fall into them. An hour ago, he'd found himself alone and lost in a world he didn't remember-- but suddenly he didn't feel quite so alone any more.

He thought he could look into her eyes forever, but at last he consciously forced himself to look away.

"We must have been pretty good friends if I trusted you with all this," he said, his voice low.

She stood up, and suddenly he realized how small she was. She was small and fragile, and yet she was protecting him, and he had the odd conviction that she always did.

"Actually," she said, "you didn’t."

He looked back at her, suddenly dismayed, suddenly wondering why he hadn't trusted her, wondering what kind of friend he was. She waved a hand in a no-big-deal gesture.

"It’s okay," she assured him. "I mean, you were just protecting yourself. A lot of people would betray you if they knew."

He gazed into her clear eyes for a long moment. At last he said, "But you wouldn’t. Would you?"

"Never," she said, softly but with great conviction.

He didn't know her at all, but he trusted her. And he believed her without question.

He wasn't sure of anything else in this world, but he was absolutely certain that Chloe Sullivan would never betray him.

-The End-
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